SubVerse Aphrodesia

underneath the chatter… whatever turns you on

obligatory blizzard poem

Stella for Star (first draft)

Because you have to say “good morning” or make small talk
as you pass the three people out so early with shovels
on the morning of a blizzard
on your way to a meeting
because somebody might relapse today
and if he does, it won’t be because you weren’t responsible.

Can’t listen to the usual *podcastaudiobookspotifybbcradio* headphones
walking down the middle of the street
or you won’t hear the car that’s not going to drive up behind you.
For the next two days all you’ll see are urban redneck pickup plows
and a few fearless SUVs.

It was worth leaving the house to hear a girl called “snow onion.”
There are eight of you that showed up,
who did not make excuses and will carry out the rituals.
Sober alcoholics are more reliable than the post office.

On the trek back home,
after your first blizzard kiss,
fracturing like a wishbone to work from separate homes,
you pass the little Buddha postman
walking in uniform to the office even though he knows
they won’t be carrying today.
It will be Stella that stops the mail,
not a failure on his part to take his oath to heart.

You stop in the neighborhood store because it is open.
Praising the brother and sister owners,
you purchase food you don’t need to show support.
You are their first customer but there will be others.
And now you have to make a blueberry pie.
It is pie day, 3.14, you realize after the fact.
You’d been craving cherry pie since the namedrops at Grandma’s funeral,
but the cherry filling was full of hi-fructose corn syrup,
so you bought frozen blueberries instead.

stella poem pic

On the second day, you learn to follow the men and walk in their boot prints, how to turn your back into a snow squall,
that it’s safer to walk in all-black ski clothes at night against the infinite white.
He walks you home and you remind him to realize this may be your last blizzard kiss.

On the third day, you break down the ice wall erected overnight by the snowplows
so your daughter has a place to park when she comes home.
You hope she knows that love is shoveling snow
as lukewarm coffee trickles through your numb lips
down your face smeared with snot that didn’t fit in your pocket tissue.

But at least it has stopped snowing,
you realize as the sun rises through inevitable blue and distant puffs,
In the flood of reflecting light you see that snowdrifts are not white at all
but shades of shadow and sparkle, pockmarked erosion and fossil fuel tinted chunks of ice.

This is the first time in months you are glad to be
a part-time teacher looking for work
because no boss is waiting for you at the office.
Later, you will extemporize about the inequity of snowfall.
How the owners and the managers park in garages,
own snowblowers or pay groundskeepers,
and don’t have to shovel out by hand.
They don’t understand how hard it is to be poor,
unprepared, stranded, alone, weak, or overwhelmed.

It is sad people are suffering,
but you are grateful to this blizzard for melting your writer’s block.
You are happy to be strong enough to move so much weight by yourself,
though you won’t miss hair getting caught in the zipper of your parka
the morbid cold sweat that soaks your bra and T-shirt underneath,
the thirst you cannot quench
or awkwardly pixilated Streetcar Brando Kowalski screenshots.

Tomorrow it will hit 40 degrees.
Stella will dissolve into memory and legends
to be passed down to babies conceived in this storm.
For now, in this moment, your favorite sound is shovel scraping pavement.
You marvel at the difference between the isolated muscles used to aching from the gym
and the full-body force demanded by the blizzard.
You wonder why the birds sound so happy with no food in sight.



follow up: radical fermentation

A link to a recording of my poem “Radical Fermentation,” composed for John Bromberg upon request to appear in his Scranton Fringe Festival production of the same name can now be found on SoundCloud. There is one major word order error in the recording, but I posted it anyway because our imperfection is a reality to be honored and embraced.

A photo slideshow / video excerpts of the production can be found on YouTube, here:

Thanks to Stacy Grega for her help recording while I was on stage.



99 cent pep talk … priceless

Stopped into the Goodwill on the way home from yoga this morning in search of light-colored fabric for a photo backdrop. They had several options but also … this 99 cent plaque.

It might be a little cheesy if it weren’t so damn true. And exactly what I needed to hear right now.

In case you do too…


oh, is that what art is?

Art is really just an idea,” Mr. Axelrod said. “It’s follow through and direction. What makes a great artist nowadays is being able to put together a team. And he was willing to give up money to put his ideas to life.”

Maybe the greatest quality an artist can possess today isn’t skill or talent — it’s commitment to making a vision real. That means money and time. To create something to make the masses remember your name. What else is fame for?

“Gallery Hopes to Sell Kanye West’s ‘Famous’ Sculpture for $4 Million,” The New York Times; 31 Aug. 2016.


videopoemography experiment

feedback always welcome …

Untitled poem (forgiveness is…) from Alicia Grega on Vimeo.



road to rio

Walking to work, I cross the path of a woman with tattoos on the back of her thighs. She skips downhill into the projects like a schoolgirl backpack swishing side to side under sun and cirrus clouds on this opening day of the Olympics.

This is why the every four years coincides with the presidential election. We need the news break. We need a distraction from America:  Land of the privileged and home of the suppressed (but never not great). We need to feel young again- excited about the sports even amid exotic economic and social protests.

The radio describes a Rio in recession. Dirty filthy water, rodents and snakes, rampant crime, and other #rioproblems.

A physical education teacher who loves sports but he’s angry at the Olympics because there are no balls and no courts for kids to play but they came up with all that money to hold this international spectacle.

Radio program host tells us the BBC reporter at the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue is dancing when the cameras are off. Why shouldn’t she dance dance? Would you, if you were there on this glorious day?


it’s not just you – rejection hurts

excerpt from Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang:

“(Rejection) involves another person saying ‘no’ to us, often in favor of someone else, and often face to face. Rejection means that we wanted someone to believe in us, but they didn’t. That we wanted someone to like us, but they didn’t. We wanted them to see what we see and to think how we think and instead they disagreed and judged our way of looking at the world as inferior. That feels deeply personal to a lot of us. It doesn’t just feel like a rejection of our request, but also of our character, looks, ability, intelligence, personality, culture or beliefs. Even if the person rejecting our request doesn’t mean for his or her ‘no’ to feel personal, it’s going to. Rejection is an inherently unequal exchange between the rejecter and the rejectee and it affects the latter much more than the former.

When we experience rejection, we can’t easily blame the economy, the market or other people. If we can’t deal with it in a healthy manner, we are left with two unhealthy choices. If we believe we deserve the rejection, we blame ourselves and get flooded with feelings of shame and ineptitude. If we believe the rejection is unjust or undeserved, we blame the person and get consumed by feelings of anger and revenge.”

I’m listening to the audiobook. Hoping there are chapters coming up that will provide answers on how to deal in a healthy manner. 😉 -ag

On the art of dialogue

Communicating with others is an art that can be practiced and should be, if we value our relationships with others. -ag

Independent Forum of Opinion

In our society we have a paradox: on one hand the prevailing individualism that weakens the development and stability of the links between people, including family ties, and on the other the presence of the word dialogue as a ‘solution’ to all evils in public life. Only that in this case it is used as a tactic to defeat the other.

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This side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1920


New York seemed not so much awakening as turning over in its bed. Pallid men rushed by, pinching together their coat-collars; a great swarm of tired, magpie girls from a department-store crowded along with shrieks of strident laughter, three to an umbrella; a squad of marching policemen passed, already miraculously protected by oilskin capes. The rain gave Amory a feeling of detachment, and the numerous unpleasant aspects of city life without money occurred to him in threatening procession. There was the ghastly, stinking crush of the subwaythe car cards thrusting themselves at one, leering out like dull bores who grab your arm with another story; the querulous worry as to whether some one isn’t leaning on you; a man deciding not to give his seat to a woman, hating her for it; the woman hating him for not doing it; at worst a squalid phantasmagoria of breath, and old cloth…

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